The rugby star choir boy


Rugby play­ers and choir boys typ­i­cally oc­cupy two very dif­fer­ent worlds. But One Tree Hill Col­lege stu­dent An­to­nio Vila proves it pos­si­ble to be se­ri­ous about both. The 17-year-old has been the cap­tain of the First XV while singing as an in­te­gral mem­ber of the school’s boys chorale choir.

On Au­gust 27 the choir won a sil­ver award at The Big Sing Finale in Dunedin, a na­tional sec­ondary schools singing com­pe­ti­tion. But un­like many of the choirs in the com­pe­ti­tion, singing is a new craft to One Tree Hill Col­lege - the Auck­land school only en­tered the com­pe­ti­tion for the first time in 2013. They were one of 24 in the event that were se­lected from 300 schools through­out the coun­try. The sil­ver award now ranks them as the sec­ond best boys’ choir in New Zealand and sev­enth in the over­all na­tional stand­ings.

Vila says get­ting the award was about ‘‘ded­i­ca­tion’’ and go­ing beyond what was ex­pected of them. ’’Even though we don’t have [sched­uled] prac­tices they would all want to prac­tice af­ter school and lunchtimes,’’ the Pen­rose res­i­dent says.

An­to­nio says he’s comes from a fam­ily of sports­men who like to sing around the home. ’’I thought, why not do both and just make the most out of what I have at school, the op­por­tu­ni­ties.’’

Choir di­rec­tor Ter­ence Maskell says when he first joined the school in 2011 it was agreed among staff that singing should be pur­sued as it was some­thing most chil­dren could do. Now a cul­ture of singing is grad­u­ally build­ing in the school to the point where the First XV cap­tain is in­volved, Maskell says.

‘‘Which is un­usual in a school … [An­to­nio] is set­ting a huge role model to the other jocks around who may think that singing is not for them.’’


One Tree Hill Col­lege boys chorale singers An­to­nio Vila, Kewin Khoonthong, Jonathan Abiad and di­rec­tor Ter­ence Maskell.

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